An open letter to Pope Francis has been drafted and gone through several redrafts by the Strategy Team. It is in its near final stage and will be released to all of your for your input shortly. A great deal of work has gone into the drafting of this letter.

A Media release re the content of the open letter to Francis is also near completion and will be released shortly as will for your input.

A proposal has been made to research through our supporters which, if any, dioceses anywhere in the world have released the Lineamenta Questionnaire. We suspect almost none. It would add credibility to CCRI and to our stance in the open letter that the Questionnaire released by the Vatican is totally unworkable. Would any of you be willing to volunteer to help with this research? There are over 3100 dioceses throughout the world. A lot of people could handle this task quite easily. We’d most appreciate a group helping with this project. I’ll explain further when I hear from you.

Linda Rogers is heading up the Poll Drafting Committee – what we previously called the Survey Committee. We are planning to develop a down-to-earth, simple, inclusive, and non-directive “living poll.” It will be an invitation to all the baptized to share with the Synod their lived experience of marriage and family in the light of their understanding of the Gospel:  “How have they benefitted from the teachings of the Church, or how has it caused difficulties or harm?” Participants will be invited to write a living testimony to their understandings, experience, and hopes. They will be asked for suggestions for change. “If you were once a participatory practicing Catholic but have left the Church, what caused you to leave, what would bring you back?”  As you can see, this is quite a different approach to our previous questionnaire which simply wanted to know things like: do you agree that divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive the Sacraments. More on this soon.




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Present: Bob Kaiser, Peter Wilkinson, John Buggy, Janet Hauter, Rene Reid

Opening prayer

Change in approach to our questionnaire (Peter Wilkinson)

Linda will chair the Survey Committee and will change its name to Poll Drafting Committtee.  The new approach, instead of being another questionnaire, such as: Should those divorced and remarried allowed to receive the Sacraments, our living poll will allow the pain of the people to come through.  Abused families have been refuseda venue to meet with the bishops.  Linda will guide the committee to use the Australian model which holds some promise for application elsewhere.  Pastoral work of the Church today is causing pain to families, which is totally unnecessary and this may be a path toward getting the bishops to understand lived experience.  At least in the pastoral practices, we may have an opportunity to effect some change.

Linda is most concerned with the draft of the Lineamenta, which is poorly constructed and biased.  Dialogue occurred that the questionnaire was developed to sabotage the process and confuse respondents to get responses that they want vs. to understand the needs of the people.

The timeline was discussed and the concern that Linda felt that she could have her questionnaire completed by the end of February.  There was concern that there would not be enough time for responses.  Peter suggested that we put out a press release that indicates that we are working on an alternative questionnaire; John suggested that what would get media attention would be to give a couple examples of what direction the questionnaire would be taking. 

Media release discussion

The media release, especially para. 4 was discussed.  The length and language is problematic some felt and needs to be limited to one page. We are focused more on those who have become disillusioned and left the Church.  If they have left, will they have interest in completing a questionnaire?  Research shows that many disaffected would be prepared to return to the Church if it changed and became more compassionate.  How do we want to present that?  Right to vote comes into play here.  Many will say they did not leave the Church, they believe the Church left them. 

  1. Linda’s proposal:  The committee needs until the end of February.   Includes testing some of the questions.  All agreed.
  2. Journalists polled:  Mickens, McElway, and Reese were asked if they would give us more than one shot to tell our story:  2 releases where one would cover the Open Letter and the other, the questionnaire.  Awaiting a response from each of them.

Our Strategy for 2015 (John Buggy)

John will have it done by the next meeting.  Overall objective:  best we could do is to influence the Pope to know we are around.  Then, it is up to him to take a stand and become more influential in the decisions he makes.  1) Need to grow by engaging more people into CCRI, 2) Influence the questionnaire, 3) episcopal conferences (Lineamenta), 4) Analyze and publish, 5) Bishops’ meetings, 5) Feed us with information for the development of papers (more hard-hitting issues) presented to the Vatican.  Support with journalists and dialogue with them and be ready with our “pain stories” that explain lived experience.  We need to state theologians who have expert opinions leaning in the stated direction.  Succinct representation to be sent to the Synod but we must be flexible; we are already proactive in these issues and we need to think about how we present a document that was just on communion for divorced and remarried.  Packaging it as a position of pain because withholding communion indicates that they have not been forgiven.  No pastoral understanding being given.  The Pope and his supporters already know that but our argument could demonstrate personal experience.  In this position, we would adopt a position of cheerleaders for a direction that already appears to be leaning in the direction for change.

 We need stronger language in the media release and in the open letter while still expressing the issues in a Christ-like manner.

Closed with a Prayer for Bob Kaiser.

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